About Democracy for NYC

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.

EndorsedLogo PlasticWe work both locally and nationally to ensure that fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates are elected at all levels of government. We develop innovative ways to advocate for the issues that matter to our members and support legislation which has a positive effect in our communities.  We promote transparency and ethical practices in government.  We engage people in the political process and give them the tools to organize, communicate, mobilize, and enact change on the local, state, and national level.

You can download our bylaws here.

About Democracy for New York City


The Explanation: Newsletter of Friday, June 22, 2012

In case you missed it, here's the newsletter we put out on Friday, June 22nd:

(1) Democracy for NYC Continues - An Explanation of This Week


(2) Volunteer for Grace Meng for Congress - Today, this weekend, & Tues. 6/26


(3) Letter Writing Party for Obama, Wed. July 27th

       ~ And Mary Ellen Broderick, a DFA-endorsed candidate in New Mexico

       ~ More events at http://www.barackobama.com, red buttons on the right


(4) Action Item: Supreme Court Healthcare Rally Next Week, 5:30pm on day TBD


(5) July Linkups - Week AFTER the 4th of July


(6) Justice Works Conference To Be Held July 21-22 in Albany


(7) Save the Date for DFNYC's Summer Barbeque - July 26!


(8) Recent Hasty DFNYC Endorsement Process - Our Apologies & Your Feedback  

       ~ If you are a candidate or staffer, we want to hear from you


(9) Members: Voting in our Endorsements too Difficult? Vote by Internet?

       ~ Also, should it be easier to qualify as a voting member?


(10) We Need Your Feedback on 2 Races:  

        ~ Lincoln Restler/Chris Olechowski & Mark Levine/Guillermo Linares



(1) Democracy for NYC Continues - An Explanation of This Week


On Wednesday morning, an email was sent to this list by Josh Silverstein announcing that he had resigned, along with other members of DFNYC's Board. Many people reached out to us to find out what was happening and were understandably confused and upset. It is not easy to explain why these things happen, and we do not intend to speak negatively about what has taken place behind closed doors.  Essentially, DFNYC had a Board of 14 people, which is rather large for a political organization, and it became increasingly difficult for us to work together due to fundamental differences of opinion about organizational administration and governance.   


Clearing up confusion:

Democracy for NYC is not dissolving. We are here, as we have been since 2004. What has happened is that several people have chosen to resign. Any implication that DFNYC was dissolved was untrue; we are structurally a federal PAC, and we remain a federal PAC. Those of us in the leadership are still running the organization and will continue to keep you informed through these emails, at our website (DFNYC.org) and through other means. If you would like to sign up to join the new group that is being started by some of the members who resigned, you are welcome to do so. But based on the misleading information in Wednesday's email, we just want to clarify that you do not need to sign up anywhere to remain part of the DFA/DFNYC community. If you are getting this email, you are still in our database. (To subscribe, follow the links below.)


Privacy & Financial Concerns:

Our first concern was the security of your private information that you have given to DFNYC (email, phone, address, etc.) and your contributions. Rest assured that we have control of the member database, the bank account, the ActBlue account, the Twitter handle, the Facebook page, and the website. (The website has old information and we are working on a mass edit. Please disregard the info there now.) We are confident that no one will be able to break into the member database and spam this list. We are ensuring that we have control over all other DFNYC property. Our lawyer in Washington D.C. is aware of the situation.


Jim Dean, Howard Dean & DFA:

Tracey had a long talk with Jim Dean by telephone on Wednesday. We have a message into Howard Dean who is traveling. DFA's approach when there are two groups that wish to be local DFA groups is not to arbitrate, but to support. We are happy that we have their support.


Going forward:

Tracey Keij-Denton will be Acting President, Jen Berkley will continue as Vice President, and Richard Wallner will be Political Director. We will announce further leadership roles as we go forward, and we are currently drafting new bylaws. But our priority this summer and fall is to work with the progressive community to re-elect President Obama, send good Democrats to Congress and Albany, and fight for progressive ideals. Please read the rest of this newsletter for more info.   


(2) Volunteer for Grace Meng for Congress - Today, this weekend, & Tues. 6/26


Assemblywoman Grace Meng, DFNYC's endorsed candidate in the new 6th congressional district in Queens, (and the only candidate DFNYC endorsed in June other than President Obama & Senator Gillibrand) needs our help to win in this Tuesday's election. We're hearing that this will be a very close race and every vote will count. Volunteers are welcome throughout the weekend, and on Tuesday, June 26th, Election Day. Please help Grace win on Tuesday and let's send a smart, progressive Democrat to the nation's capital. Grace promises to fight back against the GOP, put profit before people, help create much-needed jobs in our communities, and fight for our families. For more information, check out Grace's campaign website at http://gracefornewyork.com/.


Volunteer contact:

Greg Lavine, 516-639-8437, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Also, DFNYC member Costa Constantinides, District Leader in Queens, is volunteering for Grace. Contact Costa at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Campaign headquarters: 116-16 Queens Blvd. Suite 230 in Forest Hill and are accessible via subway.


(3) Letter Writing Party for Obama, Wed. July 27th

       ~ And Mary Ellen Broderick, a DFA-endorsed candidate in New Mexico

       ~ More local events at http://www.barackobama.com, red buttons on the right


DFNYC members voted to endorse President Obama and we are proud to be one of the many progressive groups mobilizing volunteers for his re-election. In 2008, we did letter-writing parties, where we would write brief hand-written letters to DFA members in swing states and encourage them to volunteer for Obama and a local DFA-endorsed candidate. This year, we are continuing the tradition!


I met Mary Ellen Broderick at Netroots Nation two weeks ago. She is running for the New Mexico state house in a key district in Albuquerque. Getting out the vote for Mary Ellen is getting out the vote for Obama in a swing state, so let's encourage some DFAers to get active. More about Mary Ellen:




When: Wednesday, June 27th, 7pm


Where: Whole Foods, tables on the 2nd floor, 95 East Houston Street between 2nd Avenue & Bowery. Come up to the 2nd floor (there's an elevator) and look for the table with the DFNYC sign. Website: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/bowery/   


Materials: We will have everything for letter writing, including pens, paper, stamps, and easy instructions. If you want to bring your own return address labels, that would be great! But not necessary.  



(4) Action Item: Supreme Ct Healthcare Rally Next Week, 5:30pm on day TBD


Will the Supreme Court Affirm Health Care as a Right?


The Supreme Court is expected to release their decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act next week, although it could happen even sooner. In preparation, DFNYC is partnering with Greater New York City for Change, the Health Care for All NY coalition, and other progressive groups to rally in response to the ruling. Be there ... to celebrate a good ruling, or condemn a bad one!


When: 5:30 p.m. on the day the Court ruling is released


Where: Union Square in Manhattan (the SE corner across from Phillips Ambulatory Care Center)


Invited speakers include local members of Congress, legal experts, local state legislators, doctors and nurses, local advocates, New Yorkers already helped by the Affordable Care Act, and New Yorkers expecting help down the road by the Affordable Care Act.


For more information, check out www.hcfany.org.


(5) July Linkups - Week AFTER the 4th of July


The first Wednesday in July is on the 4th this year and we realize many people will be away or busy. We are planning to hold Linkups on July 11th and 12, the Wednesday and Thursday of the following week. Please stay tuned to future email newsletters for more updates.


Please join us at one of these Linkups:


Wednesday, July 11th:


Midwood/Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn - 7:00 pm, at  Del Rio Diner,166 Kings Highway

Brooklyn NY, with hosts Rosalie Caliendo and Vicky Curto.


Thursday, July 12th:


Upper West Side, Manhattan - 7:00 pm, Location TBD, with host Tracey Keij-Denton


Union Square, Manhattan - 7:00 pm, at Argo Tea Cafe, located at 75 University Place and E. 11th Street with hosts Jen Berkley and Richard Wallner.


Astoria - Tentative (details soon)


Sunnyside, Queens - Tentative (details soon)


(6) Justice Works Conference To Be Held July 21-22 in Albany


Margaret Segall, one of our long-time DFNYC members, brought to our attention that early bird registration is still open (through Friday) for the Justice Works conference to be held July 21-22, 2012 in Albany. Margaret says the conference is sure to be "a great opportunity to share, learn, strategize and gain inspiration from one another." There's a great lineup of speakers and panelists, with Tim Wise as the keynote speaker. It's a great opportunity for progressives from all over New York State to gather and learn from each other. For more information and to register, check out justiceworksny.org.


(7) Save the Date for DFNYC's Summer Barbeque - July 26!


The Summer is officially here and that means it's time for the Second Annual DFNYC Summer BBQ! The BBQ will be held on Thursday, July 26th back at Reif's Tavern on the Upper East Side from 7-10pm. Please be sure to mark your calendars and get ready for the best BBQ of the summer. More details on special guests and speakers will be announced on our website and in future newsletters.


(8) Recent Hasty DFNYC Endorsement Process - Our Apology & Your Feedback 

       ~ If you are a candidate or campaign staff/supporter, we want to hear from you


The recent endorsement process that DFNYC had for candidates for federal office was held in a hasty and disorganized manner that was in some ways overly burdensome for candidates and their staff, and confusing for DFNYC members. The elections in the primaries are this Tuesday, June 26th, and we should have started the process much sooner than just one month ago. But now is not the time to assign blame; now is the time to apologize and move forward.


In the future, we intend to start the candidate endorsement process much sooner. People that are involved in NYC grassroots politics know who is running for office a year or more before election day. While things change as candidates announce, drop out, and incumbents get promoted (or indicted!) leaving open seats, we can still keep our finger on the pulse of the electoral situation and make our endorsement process clearer from the beginning.


We want to hear from you! Please tell us what you liked and didn't like about the endorsement process and how we can change it for the future. We won't promise to do exactly what campaigns want, but we will listen. Different timing? Didn't like the questionnaire? We want to hear it all. Email our new Political Director Richard Wallner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Acting President Tracey Keij-Denton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


(9) Members: Voting for Endorsements too Hard? Should we vote by Internet?

           ~ And on that note, should it be easier to qualify as a voting member?


With the opportunity to draft new Bylaws, the slate is essentially clean for the DFNYC Endorsement process. We are developing a new process, and we'd like your feedback. Many of you have expressed that we should have voting by Internet instead of by paper ballot. Also, perhaps the "3 event per year" rule is unduly restrictive for being a voting member, as DFNYC members are busy attending events hosted by many organizations.


The original reasons we insisted on paper ballots were (a) for government elections, we strongly supported the PB/OS system (paper ballots with optical scanners) over computerized voting machines and we wanted to be consistent, and (2) it is difficult to maintain a secret ballot with Internet voting. However, we feel turnout and participation would be much higher with Internet voting. Also, both of the original rationales are perhaps not as valid now: (1) Government elections are different because the government has the resources to run an election with paper ballots, and frankly, government elections are more important. The government can tax you, put you in jail, and pat you down at the airport. DFNYC can only ask you to volunteer or donate money, and you can say no. (2) There may be ways to do Internet voting and preserve anonymity, or at least make reasonable efforts to do so.


We want to hear from you! As we develop a new voting process, we want to make it easier for you, the members, and increase both the number of voting members and voter turnout. Tell us what you like and do not like about our voting procedures and rules - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


(10) Your Feedback on 2 Races:  

       ~Lincoln Restler/Chris Olechowski & Mark Levine/Guillermo Linares


While the primaries for federal elections are this Tuesday, June 26th, there are also several races that will be on the primary ballot in September. Below are two races that we have heard a lot of buzz about in the progressive grassroots community. Should we get involved? Email Political Director Richard Wallner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Lincoln Restler, incumbent district leader in the 50th Assembly district, being challenged by Chris Olechowski.   Websites: http://www.lincolnrestler.org, http://electchrisolechowski.org



In the state senate seat that may be open if Adriano Espaillat wins the congressional race against Charlie Rangel (DFNYC did not endorse in that race), there are two candidates, Mark Levine and Guillermo Linares.



An Open Letter to the DFNYC Community and NYC Progressive Community

Dear Democracy for NYC members and friends,

You likely received an unexpected email from Josh Silverstein, now the former president of DFNYC, this morning. In this message, Josh announced that DFNYC has dissolved. Please know that this is most definitely not the case.

DFNYC remains the local affiliate of Democracy for America, which was founded in 2004 after Howard Dean's campaign for president.

We want to let you all know that DFNYC not only still exists, but is ready to take on the challenge of getting President Barack Obama re-elected in November. We remain committed to our progressive ideals and intend to work hard to send fellow progressives to Washington and Albany in the fall.

We look forward to working together.

2012 DFNYC Candidate Questionnaire

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) recently approved a new candidate questionnaire, effective April 23, 2012. All candidates are encouraged to respond in detail so that our members can learn their key issues, positions and progressive values.


Please download the attached PDF.

Occupying Gracie

With snow on the ground and a chill in the air, nearly a hundred of my fellow ninety-nine percenters and I met at a corner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We were several miles uptown from Liberty Square but we carried the same signs, sang the same chants for an action called #occupygracie. This past Friday our fellow activists at the Job Party read an article in the National Journal, a publication mainly read in Washington, D.C. that noted Mayor Bloomberg would be meeting with members of the Congressional "Super Committee" and other business leaders over the weekend in order to find trillions in cuts to our federal budget.

Mayor Bloomberg is very much a part of the 1%. His statements against the Millionaire's Tax and actions meant to thwart the Occupiers' efforts at Liberty Square make it very clear that his allegiance is to his wealthy fellows. For instance, the day before this past weekend's snowstorm he had law enforcement confiscate all generators from Liberty Square. Instead of sitting back and taking that abuse, we took ourselves to his doorstep and voiced our dissent.

Our chants reverberated between the buildings on what is normally a very quiet East 88th Street. Yet as we rounded the corner and had Gracie Mansion in our sights, we were directed towards a penned-in area created by NYPD barricades. Across the street the police had shut down Carl Schurz Park, in which sits Gracie Mansion. Not only were we mad that we could not exercise our First Amendment rights where we wanted to, so were neighbors who wished to walk their dogs!

To make ourselves heard, we left the pen and headed down the street so we could be directly in front of the mansion. However at that point we were met by a wall of NYPD officers. It seemed they had orders to keep us far from the Mayor and his elite guests. One of us that did try to get close was arrested. The rest of our crowd was slowly pushed back down the sidewalk by members of the police. Yet we remained strong and our only reaction was to make our voices louder. Our elected officials will hear us. We will continue to #occupy and as more of us get involved, we will win!

In Solidarity,

Josh Silverstein


Democracy for New York City

Statement on Prop 8 Decision

As President of Democracy for NYC and someone who believes that everyone deserves the right to be equally protected under our laws, I was happy to see the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals strike down California’s Proposition 8. Discriminatory laws that prohibit the LGBT community from marrying the person that they love have no place in our society. Yesterday’s decision was definitely a step in the right direction.

However, we must continue to advocate for equal rights and keep the momentum going. One action we could all take right now is to call our Member of Congress and demand that we repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Our efforts helped legalize same-sex marriage here in New York, and we can replicate that success on the federal level as well if we work for it.

Josh Silverstein


Democracy for New York City


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Contact Information

Email: info -at- dfnyc.org


A local coalition group of Democracy for America since 2004

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.